Former finance minister Rishi Sunak entered the second round of voting on Thursday in the Conservative Party leadership election to determine the next British prime minister with a comfortable lead and hit back at critics of his tax plans.
Sunak, 42, is firmly placed as the candidate to beat in the race after winning Wednesday’s first round of voting with 88 votes and then backing former cabinet minister Jeremy Hunt, who was last voted 18 votes. was kept with.
Tory members of parliament will speak to the ballot again as will the six remaining candidates – including Trade Minister Penny Mordant (67 votes), Foreign Secretary Liz Truss (50 votes), former minister Kemi Badenoch (40 votes), backbencher Tom Tugendat Huh. (37 votes) and Suella Braverman (32 votes) – were further reduced, with the least number of votes being eliminated in the second round.
“I think our number one economic priority is to tackle inflation and not make it worse. Inflation is the enemy and makes everyone poorer,” Sunak told the BBC on the issue of tax cuts, which It is seen as a decisive issue among the contenders for leadership.
“I will reduce taxes in this parliament, but I am going to do it responsibly. I don’t cut taxes to win elections, I win elections to cut taxes,” he said in contrast to his closest rivals, Those who have already promised tax cuts.
The former British Indian minister, who resigned as chancellor and triggered events that culminated in the resignation of Boris Johnson as prime minister last week, insisted that he should defeat the opposition Labor Party in the next general. “Best Man”. Elections – expected by 2024.
“I want to cut taxes and I will cut taxes, but we’ll do it in a measured way. And the only way to really do that permanently over time is to make sure the Conservatives win the next general election. And me Confident that I am the best person to defeat (Labour leader) Keir Starmer and secure that election victory,” he said.
Challenged that he would struggle to connect with the poverty and subsistence crisis facing millions across Britain, Sunak pointed to his record as chancellor when he helped struggling families cope with the lockdown. Introduced measures on the pandemic to help.
“When this country was facing one of the biggest challenges, I stepped up and in just a few weeks put together and completed the furlough plan, which protected the jobs and livelihoods of over 10 million people. This is a huge amount for those people. I am really proud of that achievement,” he said.
Sunak was challenged by pointing to his long-term commitment to Britain and where he would “live and retire”, his US Green Card, which he held for months in his job in the UK cabinet.
“I was living and working and studying in the US at the time (Stanford University), but I returned to the United Kingdom and decided to try to serve my country as an MP and then in government,” he said. told the BBC.
“And now hopefully if I’m lucky to have prime minister, and that’s because I believe I’m the best person to lead the challenges we’re facing, it’s Do it in an honest and responsible way. But at the same time, I know I have the energy and experience and foresight to grow our economy.”
Upon scrutiny over his broad plans in the government, Sunak confirmed that he was in favor of an immigration strategy of deporting some illegal immigrants to Rwanda in order to control borders.
“I say that as children and grandchildren of immigrants. This country has a proud history of welcoming people, but it is also true that we have control over who is coming here. And, sadly There is an illegal group of criminal gangs who are taking lives of people to come here. We should stop it. The policy we have made gives us the ability to do that,” he said.
Sunak highlights his immigrant background as the “personal story” behind his leadership campaign, focusing on his Indian maternal grandmother, who emigrated from Tanzania to the UK in the 1960s. He has used it as a pitch for the conservative values of “hard work and fairness” that he hopes will be ingrained in party membership.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)